As Barga celebrates its annual mid-August festa di San Rocco with dining and dancing under the stars and a lively outdoor market, it is also marking the inconceivable carnage of the Black Death – in which the Serchio Valley almost certainly played a critical role.
In the lengthy annals of European trauma, ranging from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the Second World War, probably none had greater impact on the collective memory than the Black Death. In the brief span of four years, beginning in 1348, the deadliest epidemic in recorded history carried off up to 60 percent […]
The exhibition at the Civic Museum in Barga Vecchia opens on the 13th July 2013 and will remain open until the end of August 2013.
All winter there has been a continuous trickle of images coming out of Keane’s studio in Barga Vecchia and being published on various social networks. Finally these paintings can now be seen in their entirety and in a context that makes perfect sense as they can be viewed just a few scant metres away from […]
At 10pm last night, a pall of suffocating heat hung in the nearly airless Carradini lecture hall at the Istituto Superiore d’Istruzione. A fair part of the audience was made up of fidgety pre-adolescents, on holiday in Barga with their families. The omens were not good – and they didn’t even take into account a […]
Ceremonies in Italy have been marking 20 years since the murder of anti-Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Prime Minister Mario Monti joined thousands gathered in Palermo, Falcone’s birthplace, capital of the autonomous region of Sicily, and the centre of his fight against organised crime. The anniversary comes less than a week after a bomb attack on […]
To anyone who grew up in the Cold War, the rhetoric of the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential candidates is strangely familiar. The United States, they warn, is threatened by an alien ideology. What’s startling is that the bogeyman this time around is not resurgent and increasingly hostile Russia, but Western Europe – Washington’s closest and […]
Take a close and objective look at the angry demonstrators now gathered on Wall Street, and at similar protest encampments from San Francisco to Madrid. What you see is not simply a vast expression of rage at the crisis enveloping the world of democracy. The demonstrations also frame a fundamental contradiction – a profound source […]
Barga, its fondest promoters love to say, is a “classic example of a Tuscan hilltown.” But what exactly defines the classic appearance of Barga – or for that matter, Tuscany? The answer, says an exhibition in the entrance hall of Palazzo Pancrazi, home of Barga’s municipal government, is not a fixed aesthetic vocabulary grounded in […]
When King Abdullah’s speech was released by the Saudi Press Service on Sunday, my first reaction was stunned amazement. The second was to think of Dr. Aisha, a physician I’d met in Riyadh eight years ago. “Women will be allowed to participate in the Shoura Council as members from the next session onwards,” the ageing […]
Global stability is held hostage to years of savage terrorism and de facto war in a small corner of the Middle East. The crisis leads to a tense vote before the United Nations, over whether a new member-state should be recognized in the region, with a formal mandate to defend its interests and negotiate viable […]
PARIS — Viewed from the airless heights where statisticians crunch numbers, the story of the woman I’ll call Lilly Tan is simple. She is an immigrant in France, a single digit among millions for the statisticians, a warning flag to wave at rallies for the xenophobic political parties that grow ever stronger in Europe and […]
In 1995, the city of Gaziantep, on the southeastern edge of Turkey’s Anatolian plain, was under siege. Its crumbling medieval centre was swamped with refugees from a civil war between insurgent Kurds and the Turkish Army that eventually left 40,000 dead and 3,000,000 people homeless. Along the borderlands with Syria and Iraq, smoke rose from […]
On Sept. 18, 2001, I landed in Cairo on an extended assignment in the Islamic world. It was nearly impossible to find an Egyptian who believed foreign news accounts of the events that had rocked America one week earlier. Very few would unequivocally condemn the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. Almost no […]